Holleigh Jaime had a sophomore night for the No. 16 Western Nebraska Community College volleyball Friday evening against Lamar Community College.
The 5-foot-3 defensive specialist from Soldotna, Alaska, opened the match with nine straight service points and then closed out the match with a kill from the front row in helping the Cougars run past Lamar 25-5, 25-13, 25-11 for the Cougars’ 21st win of the season.
The six sophomores, who all started, were honored after the match. The six sophomores are Jaime from Alaska; Macey Boggs and Elli Winkler from Gering; Mariah Fukumoto and Angel Nahinu from Hawaii, and Hyleigh Fornstrom from Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.
Winkler’s start was special. The Gering product has been sidelined all season with an injury that has kept her out from suiting up. Friday night, she suited up and got an honorary start. Winkler started and then was subbed out right away and as Winkler left, she waved to the crowd as she went back to the Cougar bench.
Jaime said these six sophomores have meant so much to her.
“I am proud and I love all of them,” Jaime said about her sophomore teammates. “I wish them the best and in the future.”
Jaime said it was a special night and the sophomores went out strong.
“It [sophomore recognition night] meant a lot. We have been together for two years and we are really going to miss each other after this. It just means a lot to play with these girls,” Jaime said. “I am very proud of all of us.”
Jaime, who doesn’t play the front row, had an opportunity to play the front row on a couple occasions and she got the winning kill, something she said it wasn’t pretty but she will take it.
“My adrenaline was going and I just kept going,” she said. “I felt so good and so strong out there and it was amazing and definitely a memorable moment.”
WNCC will look to win their 22nd win when they host Northeastern Junior College on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cougar Palace in a contest that will decide the No. 1 seed from the South for the Region IX tournament that begins Nov. 3 at WNCC.
“I think we played really strong and played well as a team,” Jaime said. “I think this will help us move forward when we play NJC.”
Friday’s contest was all WNCC from the get-go. The match was tied at 1-1 early and then an Ale Meoni kill and then nine straight Jaime service points including three aces helped WNCC lead 11-1. WNCC led 18-3 in the first set on two Meoni points and then pushed the lead to 24-4 five Erica Fava points. WNCC won the first set 25-5 on an Nahinu kill.
WNCC started the second set up 5-0 after four points from Jenna Curtis. Lamar trailed 13-8 before WNCC went 21-10 on four Meoni points. WNCC closed out the second set 25-13 in a Jaime point.
The third set was a little closer as Lamar trailed 5-4 and later 11-9. That was when WNCC changed the momentum as Laura Milori five service points for a 17-9 lead. Lamar cut the lead to 17-11 but Fornstrom closed out the match with seven points for the 25-11 win.
WNCC had plenty of top performances on the night. Fava finished the night with 19 kills with five digs and six points. Meoni had 11 kills with seven points and two digs, while Nahinu had six kills. Curtis had four kills and five points.
Also for the Cougars, Jaime finished with six digs, 10 points, and three aces; Macey Boggs had 30 set assists with nine digs and five points; Mariah Fukumoto had four digs and two assists; Milori had two digs and seven points; Alexis Keoho had four digs; AnaKaren Chavez had three digs; Julia Moccellin had three set assists; and Fornstrom had 11 points with an ace and a kill.